Unfortunately, the solar industry has been more than happy for solar panels to be misconstrued as a 'panacea' (a solution to all). The truth, however, is that solar panels have a rightful place in our energy network and should be part of our lives, but they have their limitations; as does every product or technology.
One of the biggest problems is that we (human beings) are very blasé about electricity and it is only when we have to start thinking about taking it with us do we start to see the reality.
The average UK couple uses over 4000kWh a year, or 11kWh a day! OK, so that costs us only about £1.75 a day, which doesn't sound like much, but when we want to use electricity away from the national grid, we start to realise how much that really is. We supply off-grid panels which are the most efficient in the world, but even our ultra-efficient 100W units will only produce 0.6kWh a day in summer; cheap imports will struggle to do even that!! What this means, is that to produce just one-tenth of the power we would use on a normal day at home, we need two 100W panels (about £800, plus £100 for electronics and an angled mounting frame).
Thanks to the solar industry's 'optimistic' approach to selling, we often get enquiries from people asking if a single 100W panel is enough for their fridge, TV, microwave, lights, kettle and phone charger... In some cases, people also want to heat their bath water too! These enquiries are generally from well-educated, sensible people who have done nothing more than listen to the hype.
The cold hard fact is that solar is a great technology when used correctly, but that when we want to power our creature comforts away from the national grid, there are a few simple rules:
1. Be realistic
2. Use energy responsibly
3. Seek honest advice
4. see rule #1
For more help and advice, please don't hesitate to get in touch or try our solar system calculators.